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CAMEL

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Camel biography
The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter Bardens CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard Sinclair.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I had to choose one album from their prolific discography, my choice would be "Moonmadness" but others such as "Snow Goose" or "Mirage" are beloved by those who love good music.

An excellent band for people who l...
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Buy CAMEL Music


Camel- MirageCamel- Mirage
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2002
Audio CD$4.38
$6.11 (used)
Ichigo Ichie: Camel Live in JapanIchigo Ichie: Camel Live in Japan
Import
Imports 2017
DVD$23.19
The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$4.36
$3.11 (used)
MoonmadnessMoonmadness
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$4.44
$3.17 (used)
AnthologyAnthology
Import
Universal I.S. 2001
Audio CD$4.90
$3.40 (used)
CamelCamel
Import · Remastered
MSI:UNIVERSAL/UM3 2002
Audio CD$4.85
$7.39 (used)
Rain DancesRain Dances
Remastered · Extra tracks
Decca 2009
Audio CD$4.22
$18.32 (used)
BreathlessBreathless
Import
Polygram UK 1992
Audio CD$2.64
$4.38 (used)
A Live RecordA Live Record
Import · Remastered
Universal 2002
Audio CD$11.44
$8.94 (used)
The Snow Goose [2 CD Deluxe Edition]The Snow Goose [2 CD Deluxe Edition]
Import
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2009
Audio CD$11.80
$16.77 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Single Factor Camel Audio CD USD $70.84 Buy It Now
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MELODY MAKER 1976 MAR 6 SLIK JOHN DENVER CAMEL USD $18.79 Buy It Now
CAMEL THE SNOW GOOSE SKL-R 5207 LP VINYL EXCELLENT + SUPERB COPY USD $23.80 Buy It Now
Sopwith Camel - The Sopwith Camel 12" 33rpm 1967 Garage/Psychedelic Rock VG+ USD $20.00 Buy It Now
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CAMEL/FACTS OF LIFE - THE MELLOTONES [REGGAE] 7" USD $29.99 [0 bids]
10h 34m
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CAMEL Moon Madness 1976 DECCA TEXTURED GATE FOLD near mint USD $6.27 [4 bids]
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20h 36m
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More places to buy CAMEL music online Buy CAMEL & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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CAMEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 1125 ratings
Camel
1973
4.39 | 2291 ratings
Mirage
1974
4.29 | 1991 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
4.37 | 1960 ratings
Moonmadness
1976
3.59 | 815 ratings
Rain Dances
1977
3.13 | 667 ratings
Breathless
1978
2.85 | 579 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
1979
3.60 | 649 ratings
Nude
1981
2.59 | 416 ratings
The Single Factor
1982
3.39 | 593 ratings
Stationary Traveller
1984
3.67 | 443 ratings
Dust And Dreams
1991
3.75 | 522 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
1996
4.05 | 742 ratings
Rajaz
1999
3.95 | 608 ratings
A Nod And A Wink
2002
4.20 | 480 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)
2013

CAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.31 | 362 ratings
A Live Record
1978
3.30 | 145 ratings
Pressure Points
1984
3.66 | 104 ratings
Camel On The Road 1972
1992
4.45 | 144 ratings
Never Let Go
1993
2.40 | 62 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
1994
3.32 | 57 ratings
Camel On The Road 1981
1997
4.27 | 121 ratings
Coming Of Age
1998
3.85 | 60 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
2000
3.57 | 68 ratings
The Paris Collection
2001

CAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.54 | 40 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
1984
4.54 | 106 ratings
Coming Of Age (DVD)
1998
2.93 | 26 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
2003
3.93 | 41 ratings
Footage
2004
3.86 | 32 ratings
Footage II
2005
4.06 | 38 ratings
Total Pressure (DVD)
2007
3.90 | 51 ratings
Moondances
2007
4.40 | 74 ratings
The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst (DVD)
2010
4.39 | 31 ratings
In From The Cold
2014
4.28 | 10 ratings
Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
2017

CAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.59 | 11 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
1981
3.30 | 19 ratings
The Collection
1985
3.74 | 30 ratings
A Compact Compilation
1985
2.49 | 9 ratings
Landscapes
1991
3.46 | 52 ratings
Echoes
1993
2.11 | 9 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
1997
4.10 | 32 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
2001
4.15 | 33 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973 - 1985
2010

CAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.48 | 27 ratings
Never Let Go
1973
4.63 | 8 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
3.86 | 7 ratings
Flight Of The Snow Goose
1975
4.44 | 25 ratings
Another Night
1976
3.41 | 15 ratings
Highways of the Sun
1977
3.75 | 4 ratings
Breathless
1978
3.00 | 3 ratings
Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine
1979
4.00 | 2 ratings
Some Exerpts From The New Camel Album
1979
2.00 | 3 ratings
Remote Romance
1979
2.50 | 2 ratings
Remote Romance (German Version)
1979
5.00 | 1 ratings
Camel In Concert No.250
1981
3.33 | 3 ratings
Lies
1981
2.67 | 3 ratings
No Easy Answer
1982
3.00 | 3 ratings
Selva
1982
3.00 | 4 ratings
Cloak And Dagger Man
1984
2.57 | 6 ratings
Long Goodbyes
1984
2.50 | 2 ratings
Berlin Occidental (West Berlin)
1984
2.50 | 2 ratings
Lies (Promo Single)
1984
4.00 | 4 ratings
Captured
1986
4.84 | 19 ratings
Never Let Go
2002

CAMEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016 by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.28 | 10 ratings

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Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This new DVD was the opportunity for me to rediscover a band that I have always put behind some symphonic bands like Genesis and Yes. The reason was probably because of their quiet approach to the style with the melodies developed slowly in a dreamy, peaceful and melancholic atmosphere. The band can put you to somewhere in the world in the ancient times, especially with the flute passages. The music is essentially based around the guitar playing of Latimer and some brilliant keyboards intrusions of Peter Jones who lost his sight but never his sense of compositions and solid playing. The DVD is fun to watch not only for the great songs but for the light show and the camera angles who capture many distant shots of the full stage. I have not seen the latest DVD of Camel since "Coming of Age", but I would be surprised that those are a lot better than this one. This is another winner for a great band.
 Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016 by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.28 | 10 ratings

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Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars "Treasure every encounter for it will never recur"

I pre-ordered Camel's new DVD Ichigo Ichie directly from the band's own record company Camel Productions and got it very nicely signed by Andy Latimer. The DVD contains a strong live performance by the band filmed in Tokyo, Japan in 2016. Looking at the cover picture, you will see two figures. The one in the foreground I suppose is Latimer and the one on the background must be Colin Bass. This is the duo that have kept Camel going for many years now. Also drummer Denis Clement remains from previous line-ups, but once again we have a new face in the keyboard department in Peter Jones. Surprisingly, Jones also takes lead vocals for a couple of songs including opener Never Let Go.

If you enjoyed Camel's previous two DVD releases, you will undoubtedly enjoy this one too as it is comparable in quality with 2014's In From The Cold and 2010's The Opening Farewell. The set list overlaps significantly with these earlier releases, with the majority of the songs performed having also appeared on one or the other of the aforementioned live DVDs. There are however also a couple of surprises, my personal favourite of which is The White Rider. This wonderful song, originally from the Mirage album, hasn't been included on many live recordings before.

The first ten songs in the set are all from the band's first five albums, released between 1973 and 1977. The following handful of songs are from the late 70's to the early 90's. Interestingly, the newest songs are from 1991's Dust And Dreams album which means that there is nothing at all included from the band's three most recent studio discs (not counting the re-recorded version of The Snow Goose). Personally I would have loved to see more "rare" songs both newer and older that haven't been included on other recent live releases, but you can't have everything can you.

Another excellent Camel DVD!

 Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016 by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.28 | 10 ratings

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Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by fenman

5 stars I was suprised when I learnt a few weeks ago that an new Camel DVD, recorded last year in Japan, was imminent. I have a lot of live Camel in my collection and, having enjoyed the band in concert in Birmingham a couple of years ago, decided to place an advance order through the band's website.

My copy duly arrived (signed by Andy Latimer) a couple of days ago. I thought it would be good - it is in fact tremendous! Given how ill Latimer was a few years ago his work here is all the more remarkable. His skills and those of the rest of the band are undiminished.

An appealing setlist with decent visuals and excellent LPCM sound (CD quality, when many music DVDs are actually mp3) make this two hours of music I will be sitting though many times.

Another pleasant surprise to me was to see Peter Jones (of Tiger Moth tales) give a very convincing performance on keyboards/vocals.

I would only very rarely give a concert DVD five stars, but, on this occasion I feel it is deserved. A triumph on every level and a great start to the prog year.

 Moondances by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2007
3.90 | 51 ratings

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Moondances
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Unevensong

Moondances features footage from two separate live concerts, one from 1976 and one from 1977. As such it captures Camel in two different stages of the band's evolution - first right before and then right after the major transition that took place between the Moonmadness and Rain Dances albums (the albums to which the DVD title "Moondances" alludes). The change was both in musical terms and in terms of personell.

The earlier footage is from a concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on April 14th 1976 and features the original line-up of Andy Latimer, Peter Bardens, Doug Fergusen, and Andy Ward. While the music is fantastic and the footage interesting, it is far from complete. Only six songs are included and we are missing out on about half the show. The whole set included Song Within a Song, The Great Marsh/Rhayader/Rhayader Goes to Town, Air Born, Chord Change, The White Rider, Lunar Sea, Preparation/Dunkirk, Another Night, and Lady Fantasy, while the programme featured here begins from The White Rider. Perhaps the previous songs were not filmed, but the whole show has been released in audio format as bonus tracks on the 2009 2CD "Deluxe" edition of Moonmadness. (The 2002 remastered CD that I own has only Song Within a Song, Lunar Sea, and Preparation/Dunkirk from the same show).

The other concert was filmed at the Hippodrome, Golders Green, London, on September 22nd 1977 and features the line-up including Richard Sinclair and Mel Collins in addition to Latimer, Bardens, and Ward. With Sinclair taking lead vocals and Collins adding sax, the sound of the band was very different during this time and altogether more jazzy. Most of the Rain Dances material is good, but I dislike how this line-up treated earlier material. The worst example is what they did to Never Let Go which sounds all wrong here. Not the right direction for Camel. This is fun to see, but it does not compare favourably with the classic Camel of the original line-up. At least this programme is complete.

The DVD also holds two bonus audio-only tracks from 1973 and 1974 respectively called Autumn and Riverman. These were previously unreleased and are not available elsewhere. The reason that they are here is not clear, but it is nice to have these rare tracks.

Overall, this is a good DVD, and probably the best source if you wish to see 1970's Camel in performance. However, for me the visual aspect is only interesting once or twice for historical reasons while the audio has timeless appeal. In the case of the 1976 recordings these are, as mentioned above, available in more complete form elsewhere. In terms of DVDs, I think that the more recently filmed Camel shows presented on Coming Of Age, The Opening Farewell, and In From the Cold are all much better than the present one.

 Long Goodbyes by CAMEL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.57 | 6 ratings

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Long Goodbyes
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Waltzing Frauleins

Taken from Stationary Traveller, Long Goodbyes was released as single in 1984 with a non-album b-side called Waltzing Frauleins (or sometimes "In the Arms of Waltzing Frauleins"). The latter is rather uncharacteristic for Camel and it is wholly understandable that it was not included on the album. It is best seen as a curiosity that is of interest to fans and collectors. It has since been added as a bonus track on some CD re-issues of Stationary Traveller and also on the compilation Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973-1985.

Long Goodbyes itself is not one of my favourites from the Stationary Traveller album. While the intro and the verses are quite appealing, the overly sing-a-long-friendly chorus is not to my liking. Though, I suppose that it was a natural choice for a single.

 Cloak And Dagger Man by CAMEL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Cloak And Dagger Man
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Added pressure

Cloak And Dagger Man is a song taken from Camel's 1984 album Stationary Traveller. It was released as a single in the same year to promote said album and the present review is about the 12" version of that single having as its b-side an extended version of Pressure Points.

While Cloak And Dagger Man is a good song, it is clearly with the b-side that the real interest lies with this single. Calling it an "extended" version is a bit misleading since, as far as I understand, this longer version is actually the original one, and the shorter version that appears on the album is an edit of the same. The edited album version ran to only just over two minutes while the present version is over six minutes in length. The longer version is the better one and I presume that it was cut for the album for reasons of space.

The extended version has since been included as a bonus track on some CD re-issues of the Stationary Traveller album.

 Nude by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.60 | 649 ratings

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Nude
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review N 99

"Nude" is the eighth studio album of Camel and was released in 1981. Camel returned to conceptual albums with this new studio work. This was the first album of Camel to feature all the lyrics by the future Andrew Latimer's wife, Susan Hoover, except "Please Come Home", which has lyrics by Latimer. "Nude" was also the last Camel's album featuring the original drummer Andy Ward. In the mid of 1981 he stopped playing drums due to abuse of alcohol and drugs. Years later it emerged that Ward had attempted suicide. So, from "Nude", Latimer remained the only founding member of the group in activity as band's member. It was also the last album with this line up, and so, their next ninth studio album "The Single Factor" released in 1982 has a completely new line up where Latimer is the sole remaining member of the group. In a certain way, we can consider "The Single Factor" a solo Latimer's musical work. Perhaps the name isn't a coincidence. Curiously, it has the presence of their original keyboardist Peter Bardens, as a guest musician.

The line up on "Nude" is Andrew Latimer (lead vocals, guitars, flute, koto and various keyboards), Andy Ward (drums and percussion), Colin Bass (lead and backing vocals and bass), Mel Collins (flue, piccolo and saxophones), Duncan MacKay (keyboards), Kit Watkins (keyboards), Jan Schelhaas (piano), Chris Green (cello), Gasper Lawal (percussions) and Herbie Flowers (tuba). In fact, "Nude" has the participation of three keyboardists Duncan MacKay, Jan Schelhaas and Kit Watkins. However, Duncan MacKay provided most of the keyboards on the studio because Kit Watkins and Jan Schelhaas were involved in other musical projects, at time. However, they returned for the live tour of the album.

"Nude" is a more ambitious album than the preceding three studio albums, their fifth, sixth and seventh studio albums "Rain Dances", "Breathless" and "I Can See Your House From Here" released in 1977, 1978 and 1979, respectively. These albums aren't conceptual albums but only made by a group of songs. So, in a certain way "Nude" is a return to the concept of their third studio album "The Snow Goose". The concept of the album is based on a surrealist story, but true, about a Japanese soldier, Lt. Hiroo Onoda, stranded on a desert island since the World War II. "Nude" tell us the story of a Japanese soldier who is separated on a Pacific island of his unit during WW2, who survived alone during 29 years, on the Philippines island of Lubang until 1974, not knowing that the war had ended. However, finally he was persuaded that the war had over, after his former Japanese commanding officer fly over the island and talk with him, persuading him to surrender. After that, he has been received in his home as a hero. However, he no longer manages to get along in the daily life and thus he finally disappeared by boat, returning to his island, the place he knew so well.

Mostly instrumental, this is very much a Latimer's album, as he composed all of the music with the exception of "Docks" and "Captured" which were co-written by Kit Watkins and Schelhaas, respectively. The album opens with the generic "City Life" but the album never lets down. "Drafted" is stuffed with great melodies and guitar themes of classic Camel kind, and proved beyond any doubt that the band was back at their best. Then you're in for a series of lengthy and complex instrumental passages, about 70% of the album is instrumental, which perfectly captures the drama and atmosphere of the all conceptual story. It reminds me "The Snow Goose", the only other Camel's album that can rival with "Nude" when it comes to sweeping, symphonic and atmospheric soundscapes. There's lots of flute on the quiet parts, and there are even some ethnic rhythms on "Changing Places", to illustrate the jungle. "Reflection" represents Latimer at his most magic, and will make you think again of the most beautiful and relaxed parts from "The Snow Goose". "Lies" is a strong vocal track that somewhat resembles Pink Floyd, and Mackay delivered an organ solo to prove that he could understand what the kind of keyboards that a progressive rock band should use, even in the 80's.

Conclusion: "Nude" is an album that describes perfectly well the life of the Japanese soldier Onoda, before the war, his life in the army, his loss, his life in the island and how he was found, his feelings about his return to his country and finally, despite being very well received, his lack of adaptation after the war and his decision to return to the island where he spent so many years of his life. This incredible episode makes me think how our lives can be radically changed by a strange event and that we are animals of habits with difficult adaptation to new situations. In my humble opinion, "Nude" is somehow an underrated Camel's album. It's true that it isn't as spacey as their earlier albums. However, I think it's quite atmospheric and that it was able of creating its own musical ambient. "Nude" represents the return of the band to Camel's classic albums. It represents also one of the best progressive albums of the 80's in a very troubled musical period for the progressive rock music. For me, Camel passed thru the 80's with some elegance.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2291 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The first time I listened to MIRAGE and its first track, FREEFALL, I felt something. FREEFALL, so far, represented to me the stereotypical image of the attempts of a part of early 70's in the hard rock: trying to root out the psychedelic influences into a more heavy sonority but still maintain some unwanted characteristics. While an interesting album, I couldn't understand the praise it received as a progressive representant. Until the second section of the song came along, and I observed that even though it still sounded like a bland early hard rock track, it had a powerful influence from jazz. That's where, eventually, my view for MIRAGE changed.

The early progressive genre, in my perspective, is three-faced. While this definition certainly wouldn't apply for the modern progressive, it does fit neatly on the early one. About those three faces: the first involves experimentality, mixing, innovativeness; an escape from uniform, dull or just unoriginal rock. The second is about higher structural and sonorous complexity; and the third (mildly linked to both earlier faces), a different view of rock; trying to undermine the influence of folk and embrace another important genre: jazz.

MIRAGE represents the third face perfectly. It sounds like a rock record, but it uses as a base jazz rather than folk. Yet the symbiosis between the rock and the jazz is so profound and homogeneous it doesn't sound as either. You can't label this as a merely "classic/hard rock" or "jazz fusion" because neither of both parts stands out. They're perfectly fit together.

When I put into perspective the absolute mastery CAMEL had to demonstrate one of the three faces of the progressive genre, I can't call this anything BUT a masterpiece worth the flawless rating. If you're simply a person who likes to listen to prog, then you should listen to this album and expect a good experience. But if you're a person who values prog a little more than just a music genre, MIRAGE is a must. It is literally a gem.

9/10

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2291 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgMirage1974

4 stars REVIEW #1 - "Mirage" by Camel (1974)

Following their eponymous debut, Camel was showing growing pains of any new band. The potential was there, but there was a lack of direction and the group was still trying to develop its own unique sound. Their second effort, "Mirage", with its cover resembling a pack of Camel cigarettes, is a well-done expansion on their existing platform. What originally would have been average length songs are now extended, thanks to an emphasis on instrumental solos - most notably the guitar of Andrew Latimer and the keyboards of Peter Bardens. The atmosphere of this album is also superior to the first, as the band seems to capture the spacey feeling of the desert quite well with a touch of jazz influence, contributing to the beauty of the album in general.

The opener "Freefall" (3/5) gets this album off to a running start. With frequent tempo changes and a new, upbeat tempo, it establishes the tone of the album pretty well, but that's about it. We get an idea from this song of how the rest of the album is going to be, and already we can see a new and improved band, rooted deeply in prog. What follows is an instrumental piece titled "Supertwister" (4/5), which notably features Andrew Latimer on the flute - adding an ethereal aspect to the music, and it hits very well as being an intercalary to the next, certainly epic track, "Nimrodel" (5/5). Closing out side one, "Nimrodel" would ultimately come to be known as one of the band's most classic songs. Based on Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings", this song uses a variety of sounds, ranging from the prevalent bass of Doug Ferguson to added woodwinds and bells to create an atmosphere relatable to that of the subject matter. Split into three parts, and with seldom lyrics, it is simply put a masterpiece. With differentiation in tempo, as well as a great guitar outro, it is a fitting end to side one.

Side two is opened by the instrumental track "Earthrise" (4/5), which is a showcase of the band's musical virtuosity and a continuation on the atmosphere created on the first side. With passages of blazing guitars and spacey keyboards, complemented by Andy Ward's drumming, this song is solid but requires multiple listens to truly appreciate the intricacy of the song. Finally, the album is closed out with another epic titled "Lady Fantasy" (5/5) - another one of the band's seminal works. With multiple tempo changes, solos, and lots of riffs. The lyrics here are the best of the album, contributing very well to the song, and the track does not fail to bore the listener. This song is quite arguably the quintessential song of the album, and the defining work of Camel as a whole. A classic of prog rock, it is a mandatory listen for any prog fan.

This album was a moderate success for the band, which has been an underrated band of the genre in general. It prompted a tour of the American west coast, and would eventually lead up to the band's following, most successful album. "Mirage" is considered by many to be the best Camel album, and I certainly agree. With its invigorating sound and its instrumental nature, it deserves more recognition than it has at the moment. Even more importantly, this album serves as Camel's breakthrough, and saved the band from complete irrelevancy. I certainly recommend this album to anyone interested in prog, or even more harder rock. It balances both slow and fast tempos very well, and the tone of the guitar is outstanding.

OVERALL: 4.2/5 (B)

 Harbour Of Tears by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.75 | 522 ratings

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Harbour Of Tears
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review N 87

"Harbour Of Tears" is the twelfth studio album of Camel and was released in 1996. It was released only five years later of their previous studio album "Dust And Dreams" and three years later of the release of their fourth and double live album "Never Let Go". It was recorded in Holland and was taken from the world tour of 1992 called "Comeback". It was the first independent Camel's release, after Latimer's move to USA and get Camel back on his own hands. Again, it's a marvel that the band continues to invest so much skill and vision into their music at this late juncture in their journey.

The line up of the album is Andrew Latimer (vocals, guitar, flute and keyboards), Mickey Simmonds (keyboards), Colin Bass (backing vocals and bass) and John Xepoleas (drums). The album has also the participation of other additional musicians: David Paton (vocals and bass), Mae McKenna (vocals), Neil Panton (oboe and soprano saxophone), Barry Phillips (cello), John Burton (French horn), Karen Bentley (violin) and Anita Stoneham (violin).

"Harbour Of Tears" is another conceptual album. This time it tells us the story of an Irish family who is painfully separated of their young ones who departed to the United States to seek a better future. In the period of 1845-1850 Ireland was not only to current European standards, poor, but also in absolute terms. Latimer learned that the last sight of Ireland that his grandmother's family would have seen was Cbh Harbour. As he explains on the back cover of the album, Cbh Harbour is a beautiful deep water port in County Cork, Ireland. It was the last sight of Ireland for hundreds upon thousands of fractured Irish families who saw their sons and daughters departed for fates unknown towards the distant America. Those families called it the Harbour Of Tears and thus the album itself was also titled as the common alias name of the port, "Harbour Of Tears". This is really a very emotional album.

Musically, "Harbour Of Tears" pretty much follows the "Dust And Dreams" format. Latimer is a romantic guy and the music is pretty much on par with what it was made on "Dust And Dreams", a bunch of instrumental tracks and a bunch of vocal tracks. However, there is for sure more variety on "Harbour Of Tears", than on the 1991 album, I think. As expected, with the subject that is, and as on "Dust And Dreams", the majority of the "Harbour Of Tears" has a quite gloomy and melancholy tone. The mix of Celtic influences in progressive rock music is a phenomenon that the head pops up here and there, and, understandably also intervenes Latimer for this record and to that plea. A whole army of guest musicians, including the necessary string musicians may further enhance the musical revelry. All this, certainly includes some great very enjoyable moments all over the album. On "Harbour Of Tears" some of the tracks are short and others big. The music flows in a familiar fashion from start to finish, only adding drums and vocals when the energy picks up. The music is very often interspersed by folk elements, which are accentuated by the use of typical instruments. Despite the mood of the album it's continuously melancholic, especially through the numerous soft keyboard pads, it never comes to be bored or even lard. The songs, of which about half of them are instrumental, usually go seamlessly one into another. The whole work is a perfect unit. The vocal numbers are too much like the mid-8''s Camel. The only exception is the closing instrumental suite, the last track "The Hour Candle (A Song For My Father)", which has 23:00 minutes long and makes that this disc worth owning for all progressive fans of Camel. After that, it's almost 20 minutes of gentle waves, literally, in honour of Latimer's late father.

Conclusion: After some less good albums in the 80's and also after several years of retirement of the musical scene, Camel returned with four magnificent studio albums, of which "Harbour Of Tears" is the second of them. As I wrote before, these four albums mark the return of the band to their symphonic progressive routes and represent also the return of them to their high and solid quality musical work. In my humble opinion, "Harbour Of Tears" is a very special album in their discography. It's a very Irish album, very intimate, sensitive, tragic, sad, melancholic and nostalgic, but it's at the same time very beautiful. Its music gives to the listener the sadness and the tragic feelings of the Irish families who saw their sons and daughters departed for unknown lands, towards the distant America. Personally, nowadays when I hear Camel's music, I'm always with melancholic and nostalgic feelings that in some way carry me to the distant past, the past of my youth. Camel is the only band from the 70's in which their music brings me such feelings. "Harbour Of Tears" is probably the album that brings me more strongly, those feelings. However, I think beyond my personal feelings, I can consider it a great album. It's an album with beautiful and nostalgic music, good lyrics and very well arranged which makes of it an excellent progressive musical work. This is Camel in a great shape.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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